Messi is unlikely to play for Barcelona again this season after aggravating a hamstring injury and although he is should be fit for qualifiers against Colombia and Ecuador next month, Sabella is braced for the loss of his captain.
"There are 26 days to go," Sabella said on Tuesday of the clash with Colombia at the Monumental in Buenos Aires on June 7. Four days later Argentina visit Ecuador in Quito.
"I hope we can count on Lionel. If he's fit, that will be welcome. If not, it's a way of seeing how we play without him," Sabella said on his return from a trip to Europe.
"Lionel is the best in the world. When a player of those (gold) carats isn't there you feel it, even Barcelona became Messi dependent, what team wouldn't with a player of his standing?"
Messi has been ever present in Argentina's 11 qualifiers for the 2014 finals in Brazil so far, including seven wins and one defeat, scoring eight goals.
Argentina lead the South American group with 24 points, four ahead of second-placed Ecuador and five in front of Colombia, who both have a match in hand.
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